Thursday, April 08, 2010

The semifinals

Yesterday FC Barcelona and Inter Milan qualified for the 2009-10 Champions League semifinals. Today the other two semifinalists were to be found.

I have for years said that one should look out for Olympique Lyon, but they have never made it beyond the quarterfinals. But today, they made history; after winning 3-1 at home, a 1-0 defeat to Girondins Bordeaux was enough to put them in the semifinal.
The other match between Manchester United and Bayern Munich was a true drama that must make the Champions League proud. After a late 2-1 victory last week in Munich, the Germans had to defend their narrow lead. But Manchester United started like lightning, and were 2-0 up after only seven minutes, and even made it 3-0 before Ivica Olic made it 3-1, the score after a first half where the English team had looked far superior to the Germans.
But as in the first match, the Germans never give up, as things also started to go against Manchester: shortly into the second half Rafael was given his second yellow card; with ten men and without an injured Wayne Rooney, United's pressure subsided. Fifteen minutes before time the Dutchman Arjen Robben scored a stunning goal that put Bayern Munich in the semifinals for the first time since 2001.
It is a pity to see Manchester United out of the tournament, since they are a great club. However, they lost to a German team that will surely be interesting to watch, and that got a slight revenge for the legendary 1999 CL final where Manchester United defeated them 2-1 on two last minute goals.

The semifinals are as follows:
It is to note that this is the first time since 2003 without English teams in the semifinal (but I will not be one of the people to say that this means a decline of the Premier League) and the first time since 2004 with four different countries represented. Be sure that these will be thoroughly exciting matches!

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